ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have selected linebacker Wesley Woodyard as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recipient, it was announced on Tuesday. This prestigious award historically recognizes a player for outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.
A team captain in his third NFL season after graduating from the University of Kentucky, Woodyard will be recognized during pregame festivities of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs when a $5,000 donation will be presented on his behalf to both the Tennyson Center for Children and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. He is heavily involved with both organizations and has made a positive impact on numerous youth through his efforts.
Receiving the donations on Woodyard’s behalf Sunday will be Lyn Woods and Tricia Muniz from the Tennyson Center for Children along with a young man, Davante Croffer, whom Woodyard has mentored through that organization’s outreach program. Joining them will be Rich Barrows, director of the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, and Malik Jones, a boy from the Club whom Woodyard has worked with on the NFL Play 60 program.
Woodyard was chosen as the Broncos’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee from a group of finalists that included cornerback Champ Bailey, safety Brian Dawkins, tight end Daniel Graham and offensive lineman Ryan Harris. He was selected based upon input from a committee of representatives within various business departments from the Broncos as well as fans.
Woodyard’s name will be submitted to the NFL for consideration as the national award winner, which is announced during Super Bowl week. That individual will receive a $25,000 donation to the organization of his choice courtesy of NFL Charities.
Previous Broncos nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award include Bailey (2008-09), cornerback Domonique Foxworth (2007), wide receiver Rod Smith (2006 and ’04), safety John Lynch (2005), linebacker Ian Gold (2003) and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (2002).
Quarterback John Elway (1992) is the only Broncos player to win the national award, which was first given in 1970 and renamed after the Chicago Bears’ Pro Football Hall of Fame running back in 1999.